It's a new year! I find the end of each year and beginning of the next is a perfect time to look back, take some notes, and learn something new for the year ahead.

This was a big year, not only for my blog and business but for my personal life at home. I got married, moved twice, and saw the first revenue from my new business (MeeseWorks, LLC).

This was my first full year blogging on a consistent, weekly schedule and my traffic and reader engagement is more than ten times what it was before.

Here's a list of my most popular blog posts in 2014, and what I've learned from examining each one:

  1. How The Two-Minute Rule Saved My Life (7/31/14)
  2. How to Activate Air Gestures on the Samsung Galaxy S4 (2/20/14)
  3. The Chaos-Fighting Power of Small Change (5/1/14)
  4. Why You Should Never Store Bitcoin In An Online Exchange (4/10/14)
  5. The App Every Creative Dreams Of (5/22/14)
  6. 4 Practical Steps Towards Achieving More Restful Sleep (4/27/14)
  7. Why Self-Leadership? (4/3/14)
  8. Thank God I Got an “F” in College (11/14/13)
  9. Bitcoin: What, Why, and How? (2/28/14)
  10. The Liberating Power of a Daily Routine (6/19/14)

It's incredible to think that my top post has been viewed nearly 7,000 times since I wrote it only five months ago. I'm humbled by the impact I may be having on people's lives.

In reviewing each of these posts, I've picked out key success factors that I underestimated before now.

The Value of Keystone Content

Keystone content is evergreen content on your blog that directly relates to a subject you write about and may represent introductory material that should be referenced often.

Three of these top posts are articles I referenced and linked to many times later, representing keystone content in the categories of self-leadership, Bitcoin, and routine.

Apparently, those references quickly added up.

Takeaway #1

“Don't skimp on intro material—keystone content can take you far.”

The Social Factor

If I told you that the more I shared my content, the more popular it was, would you be surprised?

Probably not.

My activity on social media has a direct effect on my blog traffic, that much I knew. What surprised me was what happened on sites where I had next-to-no presence at all.

A few of my posts took off on LinkedIn and on Reddit, despite

the fact I have little to no presence on those sites. As well, even though Twitter was my top referral channel overall, a couple of posts were far more popular on Facebook than anywhere else.

Takeaway #2:

“Write more, worry less. Resonate with some, and they will take your content and run.”

The Residual Impact of Influencers

Online, influencers are those people or businesses with a large, engaged following on social media sites.

Half of my top posts in 2014 were shared right away by my friend and mentor Michael Hyatt, who has a huge following which meant an immediate traffic spike.

The traffic didn't end there, because other influencers picked up my posts and spread them further as they engaged with my content on their own.

Takeaway #3:

“Cultivating relationships with social influencers is key to success in the online world.”

The Google Effect

I've done almost nothing to promote two of these posts since I wrote them nearly one year ago. Despite that, they consistently get traffic—week after week.

Right now, if you were to search for any variation of “air gestures” or “f in college”, you'd see my post on the first page of results. That's no small feat, and the main reason those posts appear here in my top ten.

Takeaway #4:

“Write on topics that people need. You'll do yourself a favor and be found.”

Question: What's one lesson that you learned in 2014?

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